Delhi High Court: Clerks Serve a Crucial Role and are Indispensable for Smooth Functioning of the Entire Institution

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In Delhi High Court Bar Clerks Association v. Union of India & Ors., the Delhi HC observed that the members of the Delhi HC Bar Clerks Association (DHCBCA) serve a crucial role. This is for the reason that they are intrinsically linked to the work. Consequently, they are indispensable for the smooth functioning of this entire institution.

Facts of the Case

The DHCBA filed the petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. In the plea, the Association is seeking direction to be issued to the Central Government to provide financial aid to the members of DHCBCA.

DHCBCA urged that the members are in dire need of financial aid for basic survival. The lockdown has caused a fall in work and a decline in finances. The Clerks Association had sought the creation of an Rs. 5 crore fund for the welfare of its members. This will ensure their survival during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Petitioner’s Submissions

The Association informed the Court that it is a registered association duly recognized by DHCBA. The Association has 3500 members. It highlighted that the COVID-19 pandemic forced clerks to succumb.

The Association also submitted that many landlords are harassing the members for rent. The members are unable to pay the school fees of their children. Further, they stated that they have run out of their savings. They can hardly meet their day to day expenditure.

They submitted that the members of the Association were finding it very difficult to survive. The advocates were not able to pay them salary because of insufficient availability of work.

The petitioner argued that neither the State nor the Centre extended any help to the clerks working for the legal fraternity either by the State or Centre. The Association stated that DHCBA had already set up a COVID Relief Fund for Advocates. Thus, there was no reason to deny the creation of a similar fund to help the clerks.

Respondent’s Submissions

Senior Advocate Mathur assured that the Bar Association would examine the aspect of setting up a separate fund for the petitioner’s Association. He added that he would donate a sum of Rs 2 lakh to the fund.

The respondents informed the Court that various advocates contributed to provide financial help. Senior Advocate Inder Singh Alag has also volunteered to contribute Rs. 1 lakh.

The counsel for the Delhi Government also assured the Court that he would get instructions regarding the outcome of the representations claimed to have been made by the petitioner’s Association to the government.

Court’s Decision

The Court appreciated the voluntary offers made by the Senior Counsel. As a result, the Court said,

“…hope that their generosity motivates other senior members of the Bar, especially those who are regularly appearing before Courts in video conferencing hearings for the last few months, to contribute benevolently and unsparingly to this fund, as and when it is created. The members of the petitioner association serve a crucial role and are so intrinsically linked to the work discharged by the Bar that they are indispensable to the smooth functioning of this entire institution.”

The Court is considering the matter of setting up such a fund. The Court also hopes that all the members of the Bar Association will remain conscious of this fact. Further, it said that without assistance no one could discharge their duties.

The Court will now hear the matter on 1 July 2020.


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